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Jethro Tull - Rock Island CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

2.71 | 524 ratings

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2 stars I bought this disc when it came out in '89, and really didn't care for it. Its predecessor, CREST OF A KNAVE, I thought, was much better. In the interest of fairness, I'm listening to ROCK ISLAND again as I write this, but it's no labour of love. I suppose this recording has its supporters, but I'm not one of them: enough, already, Mr. Anderson, about your precious "Willie." Stick to your metal flute! (You explored that theme with far more cleverness anyway on SONGS FROM THE WOOD, when you wrote "I'm tight against the seam," or, my favourite, "She took the simple man's staff all in hand; I raised the flag that she unfurled.")

In my opinion, ROCK ISLAND is a sub-standard album that doesn't approach the quality of other 80s Tull releases like BROADSWORD or CREST, and is only marginally better than the dismal UNDER WRAPS. None of these songs -- with one notable exception -- grab me, or evoke that old Tull magic. The album feels like a rushed and contrived effort to put out another disc in the mold of CREST OF A KNAVE (which, incidentally, gained Tull an award for "Heavy Metal Album of the Year" -- ahem....). There's lots of "sound and fury" here, but it signifies nothing. Some parts aren't TOO bad ("Heavy Water" is OK), but, in general, these songs pale next to most of those that have come before. The notable exception that I mentioned is "Another Christmas Song," which is a thoughtful and worthy successor to its near-namesake. (But don't worry: "Another Christmas Song" is available on the new JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS ALBUM, which I understand is good.)

Unless you simply must have every Tull album, I wouldn't bother with this one.

Peter | 2/5 |


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